Here is the exchange:
Couric: But talking microcosmically, did the surge, the addition of 30,000 additional troops … help the situation in Iraq?
Obama: Katie, as … you’ve asked me three different times, and I have said repeatedly that there is no doubt that our troops helped to reduce violence. There’s no doubt.
Couric: And I really don’t mean to belabor this, Senator, because I’m really, I’m trying … to figure out your position. Do you think the level of security in Iraq …
Couric … would exist today without the surge?
Obama: Katie, I have no idea what would have happened had we applied my approach, which was to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation. So this is all hypotheticals. What I can say is that there’s no doubt that our U.S. troops have contributed to a reduction of violence in Iraq. I said that– not just today, not just yesterday, but I’ve said that– previously. What that doesn’t change is that we’ve got to have a different strategic approach if we’re going to make America as safe as possible.
I think that it was smart political strategy for Obama to dodge the surge question, but also evaluating the success of the surge really depends on the criteria one uses to define success. Can we attribute the reduction in violence to the addition of 28,000 troops? That seems unlikely given the size of Iraq. What is clear is that reason we were given for the surge was to give the Iraqi government space to get their act together, and this has not happened.
Whether or not the surge worked isn’t the question. The real question is where do we go from here? The Iraqis want us out. The American people want the troops home, and Obama wants to bring them home, so the only thing standing in the way is the Republican Party, who wants to keep the soldiers in Iraq because it is their best chance at winning the election.
Can we please put this idea to bed that the media loves Obama? Couric who isn’t exactly a journalistic heavyweight had no problem with going after Obama, and one only needs to look back to the Rev. Wright mess to see that the media has no qualms about jumping on Obama. The Democrat gets more coverage, from the media because he is the star of the race, and in a Democratic year, people seem to be sick of Republicans. In other words, Obama is great for ratings, while McCain puts America to sleep.